Smoking & Cancer

Smoking Can Cause Oral & Throat Cancer

Routine Dental Visits May Help Provide an Early warning for Cancer

Oral and throat cancer can be aggressive. Prognosis is markedly improved if found early on. You will be screened at each visit for areas in the mouth that look suspicious or abnormal. If something is found, sometimes it will be monitored over a period of time to observe changes and sometimes you may be referred to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. People who smoke or chew tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, and pipes) and drink heavily have the highest risk of developing oral cancer. These two risk factors are worse when combined than separate. Other factors include certain types of HPV and sun exposure to the lips.

Some signs that you can look for at home are:

  • A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth
  • A lump or growth in the throat or neck area
  • Cough or sore throat that doesn’t go away
  • Ear ache
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Hoarseness or other changes in your voice